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Kyrgyz Report: November 5, 1999

5 November 1999

Ambassador Tursunbai Bakur Uulu told RFE/RL correspondents in Bishkek on 5 November that a ransom had been paid for the release of the Japanese hostages in Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan last month. According to Bakir Uulu, he himself did not pay any ransom to the rebels when seven hostages were released on 12 and 18 October. He had agreed with the rebel leaders abroad that all the remaining hostages would also be released soon. But at the end of his mission, he had been barred from his activities by the Kyrgyz leadership. And on 25 October, First Deputy Minister of National Security Valeri Verchagin brought the remaining five hostages to Kyrgyzstan from Tajikistan, including 4 Japanese geologists.

According to Bakir Uulu, it is possible that the Japanese government had given Kyrgyzstan $3 million for the release of its citizens. But some Kyrgyz government officials, as well as some members of the Tajik opposition, had misappropriated a major part of the sum. Government officials have rejected comment on the information given to RFE/RL by Bakir Uulu. Tursunbai Bakir Uulu is a member of Parliament and Chairman of the Presidential Commission on Human Rights.

Secretary of the Security Council, General Bolot Januzakov announced in Bishkek on 5 November that a meeting of representatives of the CIS countries was held to sign a collective defense agreement in Bishkek on 5 November. The fight against international terrorism, the formation of joint squadrons to combat terrorism, and other security issues in Central Asia were discussed. According to Januzakov, it was agreed that a committee of secretaries of security councils would be set up. Also, a protocol on the joint combat against international terrorism was signed in Bishkek that day.

Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan are members to the CIS agreement on collective defense. The agreement was signed in Tashkent in 1992, but Uzbekistan left the agreement earlier this year. Uzbek representatives had also been invited to the today meeting, but nobody came.

According to the governmental press service, a delegation of the International Monetary Fund arrived in Bishkek on 5 November. They were to stay in Kyrgyzstan for 10 days to discuss with the prime minister, finance minister and chairman of the National Bank a program of IMF assistance to Kyrgyzstan in 2000. If the discussion ends successfully, Kyrgyzstan will receive from the IMF $30 million next year in frameword of the Economic Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF-2) program.

According to the presidential administration, President Askar Akayev signed on 5 November two decrees on new appointments. Misir Ashirkulov was appointed head of the presidential administration. He had been Minister of National Security before. According to the other decree, Naken Kasiev was appointed State Secretary of the country. Kasiev had been Minister of Health Care before.

Former head of the presidential administration Medet Sadyrkulov was appointed head of the Accounting Chamber and adviser to the president on 3 November. Former state secretary Ishenbai Abdurazakov was dismissed on 25 October.

According to the presidential press service, a Kyrgyz delegation led by President Askar Akayev will visit Denmark and Turkey in mid-November. Akayev will visit Denmark on 14-17 November and will have meetings with the Danish Queen, the prime minister, the speaker of parliament, and other high officials. Several agreements between the two states are expected to be signed during the visit.

Akayev will take part in the OSCE summit in Istanbul on 18-19 November. Chairman of the OSCE, Norwegian Foreign Minister Knut Vollebaek announced during his last visit to Bishkek last month that international terrorism and the situation along the state border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan will be discussed at the summit.

Former head of the presidential administration Medet Sadyrkulov told in an interview aired by the local Piramida TV station in Bishkek on 3 November that the incumbent President Askar Akayev will take part in the next presidential elections and will win. The elections are expected to be held in December 2000.

Sadyrkulov was appointed by Akayev on 3 November as Chairman of the Kyrgyz Accounting Chamber and coordinator of activities of all public organizations in the country which support the policies of President Akayev.

The constitution forbids a third term for the president. Akayev was elected by parliament on 27 October 1990 and won the nationwide elections on 12 October 1991 with the 5-year term. He held a controversial early election on 24 December 1995 and won this one as well. The Constitutional Court ruled on 13 July 1998 that President Akayev has the right to take part in the next presidential elections, saying that Akayev had been elected president only once - in 1995 - since the new constitution was adopted in 1993. During a visit to Germany last September, Akayev said in an interview published in the Berlin-based Tagesspiegel on 15 September that he would not run for the presidency in 2000. But his aides refuted the information in Bishkek on 16 September.

According to the governmental press service, a joint meeting of the government and the parliamentary finance commission was held in Bishkek on 4 November. Finance Minister Sultan Mederov reported to the meeting. According to him, the government expects revenues of 10,079 million soms (about $240 million) and expenditures of 10,022 million soms in the year 2000. 7,080 million soms are expected to be raised from taxes and other fee payments.

More than 1,000 soms will be allotted for health care service in 2000; the defense system will be given 680 million soms; the ministry of emergencies will receive 428 million soms, and education 207 million soms.

According to the Foreign Ministry, Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Muratbek ImanAliyev was received by Iranian President Mohammad Khatami in Tehran on 2 November. Bilateral relations between the two states were discussed. Also, ImanAliyev handed Khatami an invitation to visit Kyrgyzstan, signed by President Askar Akayev.

Department head in the Defense Ministry, Oleg Chechel told RFE/RL correspondent in Bishkek on 3 November that a Kyrgyz delegation led by Minister Esen Topoev took part that day in a meeting of Central Asian defense ministers, held in the city of Fergana, Uzbekistan. The main points of discussion at the meeting were the results of the military exercises held in southern Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan on 28 October to 1 November, and the fight against terrorism. Defense Minister Igor Sergeev of Russia also arrived in Fergana.

Troops from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan took part in the exercises.

About 60 people held a protest demonstration in front of the government building in Bishkek on 3 November. They were members of the El Jeri, Kosh Kanat and Kydyr Ata societies. They demanded that be permitted to construct houses the Bishkek suburbs. Many young people come to Bishkek from the countryside, live with relatives and friends, and try to construct private houses on their own. The government allots them plots of land from time to time.

The Moscow-based Vremya-MN daily wrote on 2 November that the Japanese government had paid $6 million for the release of the 4 Japanese geologists who were taken hostage by rebels in southern Kyrgyzstan last August.

Another Moscow daily, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, wrote in its 3 November edition that the main goal of the rebels was to maintain their drug traffic routs through Kyrgyzstan. Also, according to the paper, President Askar Akayev of Kyrgyzstan is not able to control his aides fully, and the last phone-line interview with one of the leaders of the rebels could deteriorate relations between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.